Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. The day when most everyone is at least a little bit Irish. Apparently, our genealogy database to agree with this sentiment, as some glitch has caused it to rename the birthplaces of several thousand former residents as Ireland, whether they were actually born there or not. I’m going to blame it on the leprechauns, and hope that they reverse the glitch on Friday.
Between 1890 and 1910, Issaquah grew rapidly, as people from all over the nation and all over the world came to live here. Many of them were coal miners, following work. Others set out to capitalize on the growing populations by providing services or retail. Although immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Scandinavia were more numerous, a number of Irish immigrants settled in the Issaquah Valley and contributed to the rich history of the area.
Irish immigrants who played a role in Issaquah’s history include:
John McQuade, born in County Tyrone, served as Issaquah’s town marshal from 1892-1899, and then as mayor from 1900-1901.
Archie Adair III, born in County Antrim, served as both town councilman and town treasurer. He was also a successful saloon-keeper until Washington’s early prohibition put him out of business in 1916.
Peter McCloskey donated the land on which Issaquah’s first Catholic church, St. Joseph’s, was constructed.
In addition, many Irish families farmed in the Upper Squak Valley (the area south of town). Martin & Nora Hines and their seven children lived in the upper valley, as did Michael and Ann Dolan. Martin Gleason. Gleason was born in County Kilkenny, and after immigrating he married Catherine Ryan, the daughter of Irish immigrants. Catherine’s sister Mary Ryan wed Patrick Walsh, another Irishman, and they settled in the Upper Valley as well.
Other Irish immigrants came to Issaquah briefly, and then moved on to other areas. In 1889, 7% of Issaquah’s population was born in Ireland. Among these immigrants were coal miners, saloon keepers, hotel proprietors, and laborers.
If you find yourself attending one of the dozens of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations scheduled in Issaquah and the surrounding area, take a moment to lift a (green?) pint in honor of Issaquah’s early Irish. Erin go bragh!